Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Like most people, arachnids do not make my heart go pitter-patter. Maybe thump-thump. However, I did not want my children running around flailing their arms and climbing onto chairs every time an eight-legged friend crossed their path. To that end, I have attempted to temper my own distaste for spiders, or at least hide it in the same way that I have my juvenile aversion to fresh tomatoes. I calmly and maturely read Be Nice To Spiders repeatedly in my best teacher voice. I point out beautiful spider webs both in the yard and in our basement, otherwise known as Spideropolis.
Mister, who is generally cautious, takes no issue with smashing spiders with his bare hands. Sometimes I discourage him from harming some of God’s beautiful creation. Other times I just look the other way and secretly feel thankful that he gets the job done. Sis has noticed the discrepancy. Yesterday she told Peanut, who was in hot pursuit of a creepy crawly that looked edible, “Little baby, some spiders we like and some we smash.”
That was the end of her explanation. And I paused to consider the lack of rules for which spiders get to stay. Is it an issue of size? Or general leg length? Color? Maybe it is really a matter of capacity. Somehow, as manager of the home, I know when too many spiders are underfoot. Or maybe it has to do with which room we find them in. Or how fast they move. Or how near they are to our beds.
And I think of the other topics of my life for which I have established fluid boundaries. Sometimes those loosey-goosey edges work just fine. But for some more serious issues, it is time I heeded the instructions for building clearly explained by Jesus himself. As the children sing: “The wise man built his house upon the rock. The wise man built his house upon the rock. The wise man built his house upon the rock and the rains came tumbling down . . . but the house on the rock stood firm.”
Just yesterday I woke to the discouraging reality that I do not have what it takes to live in the grey and hope to emerge unscathed. I cannot tour a chocolate factory and not eat chocolate. I cannot walk through the mall and not want new jeans. I cannot spend an afternoon in the sun without sunscreen and not get burned. I need real boundaries. Ones that are drawn up far from the precipice. And so I pray. For the will to build strong walls on the sturdy foundation of Christ and the desire to live safely inside them.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25